Analysis Report | REPORT SYNDICATION
India, under the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, has recently revoked the special status of Kashmir. The government has also lifted a ban on property purchases by non-Kashmiris, with the allegedly intention to pave the way for citizens in other parts of India to settle in India-administered-Kashmir.
ARTICLE 370’S SIGNIFICANCE
Since 1949, the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution has given autonomy to the Indian-administered-Kashmir to conduct its own affairs. Under this constitutional provision, the region could govern itself in most aspects of public affairs, except in areas like foreign policy and defense, and had its own constitution and flag.
The constitutional provision served as the foundation for Kashmir joining India more than 70 years ago.
HINDU-SUPREMACIST DOCTRINE’S INFLUENCE
Over its first 5 years of tenure and during the 2019 Indian general election, BJP has worked hard to consolidate its position in the Indian Parliament, weaken the major opposition force, ensure disunity among the opposition parties. Only after making sure that they have done this successfully, Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s government went ahead with the decision to strip the autonomy the Kashmiris used to enjoy under the Article 370 of Indian Constitution.
Had it not successfully disillusioned the nation with the fervour of its Hindu-nationalism, BJP could not have made the move successfully. There are widespread concerns that substantial portions of Indian media, civil society and law-fraternity are now indulged into the idea of ‘Hindutva’, a Hindu-supremacist doctrine.
SILENCE OF LIBERAL AND SECULAR DEMOCRACIES AND RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS
Many believes that the move to scrap the India-administered-Kashmir’s autonomy will bring-about more repression on the Kashmiris and will suppress their willingness to govern their own state of affairs.
Immediately before the announcement, the local leaders were arrested, telecommunication and internet services were suspended, and restriction was imposed on public movement. Thousands of troops were sent to quell any possible unrest.
The fact that telecommunications, internet and media are shut down is already a clear breach of ‘rights to information’, ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘freedom of press/media’. Even the restriction imposed on movement of people in parts of Kashmir amounts to breach of ‘freedom of movement/mobility’.
Despite the clear breach of human rights in Kashmir and the alleged ongoing oppression, the democratic countries well-known for their modern, secular and liberal values have not yet taken any position against the move which is inspired by a supremacist doctrine.
Although the international rights organizations condemned this move, particularly the restriction on telecommunications, internet, media and public mobility, they have been found less vocal against the rights violations compared to what they do during similar rights violations that take place in other parts of the world.
What’s more surprising is that even the core secular and liberal parties in India as well as the India-based rights organizations have not been speaking loud enough about the plight of the Kashmiris.
BJP TO CHANGE KASHMIR’S DEMOGRAPHY
BJP has made clear its intention to open Kashmir for the citizens living in other parts of India, including allowing investment from other parts of India to flow into India-administered-Kashmir.
Although the supporters of Hindu-supremacist doctrine are trying to portray this as the dawn of development for the Kashmiris, the Kashmiris themselves have been complaining about how trapped and isolated they feel in this situation which is imposed on them by force, not granted to them by choice.
With this move the supremacist government in New Delhi wants to change the demography of India-administered-Kashmir.
BJP wants to weaken the united Kashmiris by turning them into an isolated community in their own land. For doing this, BJP will gradually increase the presence of non-Muslim communities, including Hindus, in the India-administered-Kashmir. The recent passing of laws allowing people from other parts of Indian to be able to purchase properties in Indian-administered-Kashmir is a move clearly aimed at this direction.
DIVIDING THE NATION FROM CORE
The decision on Kashmir will further polarize the Hindu-Muslim divide that has already been in its worse condition since the Narendra Modi’s BJP came to power in 2015.
The lynching of Muslim (as well as other minorities) for eating beef has become the new-normal in India. In such circumstances, applying forces on the Kashmiris will further divide the Indian society from its core. BJP has already been alleged to have shaken India’s long-praised religious harmony.
BJP’S RISKY BET
If an all-out armed rebellion breaks out in Kashmir in near future, the separatists in India’s seven North Eastern states and the communist Naxalites in India’s Red-Corridor might find this an ideal moment to re-launch their military campaign against the state of India, as the Indian forces would then become way too engaged in Kashmir.
Hence, in an attempt to force its Hindutva doctrine on the entire nation, BJP is perhaps making an irrecoverable mess for India.